Monday, May 23, 2011

When All You Have Is A Hammer, Every Problem Looks Like A Nail

Over the last 20+ years, many police departments have become, for lack of better word, militarized.  The trend accelerated after 9/11 what with the threat of terrorism.  As a result, a great deal of money has been spent on training and equipment to deal with violent felons and suicidal terrorists.

All of which is well and good.  When there are VERY BAD PEOPLE about to do VERY BAD THINGS.

However, given the dearth of violent felons and suicidal terrorists in most locales, those highly trained folks with their expensive toys sit idle. 

or not.

If you got it, you use it. Often when it should not be used.

Here are the facts:
Jose Guerena, 26, a former Marine who served in Iraq twice in 2003 and 2005, had just gone to bed after working a 12-hour shift at the Asarco Mine in Pima County Arizona.  His wife, Vanessa Guerena says she heard noise outside their home about 9 a.m. Thursday and woke her husband.  Guerena told his wife and son to hide inside a closet and he grabbed the AR-15 rifle and prepared to defend his home and hearth, kit and kin.

When five SWAT members broke through the front door Guerena was crouched down pointing the gun at them, the Deputies began shooting.  The Pima County Regional SWAT team fired 71 shots in seven seconds, striking Guerena 60 times.

After that stories diverge

Some other facts.  The Pima County Sheriffs Office was executing a SEARCH warrant.  Not an ARREST Warrant.  Meaning that the Police only had a suspicion of wrong doing, and NOT on a person whose only other runs in with the law consisted of traffic tickets.

There are also conflicting stories as to why they were executing the search warrant.  Some stories say it was part of a drug investigation, others claim Guerena was part of a burglary crew.   Neither of which, last I checked, had the death penalty as the maximum punishment.

The SWAT team has lawyered up and the search warrant and court documents showing what deputies were looking for and seized from Guerena's home have been sealed by a judge and are unavailable to the public.  The Sheriff's office won't release anything related to what was seized other then to say that gun(s), body armor, and picture of Jesus Malverde found under a bed.  Which, again, last I checked, are NOT illegal for any citizen to own or possess.

Now the PCSO say this was not a "No-knock" warrant.  Yes, they claim that they knocked for 40 seconds before crashing in the front door.  Sorry, 40 seconds isn't long enough.  Was someone timing them?

And why not pinch the guy as he's driving home from the mine.  It wouldn't be hard to pull him over on his way home from work and then execute the warrant.  Removes the danger for both the officers and the citizen.

There was no need for SWAT to ever execute a "Dynamic Entry", unless the evidence is easily destroyed in seconds, there is no reason not to wait for the person to get to the door because there is :
1. A rape or murder in progresss
2. A terrorist act about to take place.
3.  The world is about to end.

Outside of those three there is no reason for police to shoot an innocent-until-proven-guilty-in-a-court-of-law US Citizen SIXTY times in his own home.  With his wife and children cowering in fear in a closet.   We're not even allowed to do it in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Our troops in Afghanistan are not allowed to shoot bomb-planting terrorists unless the terrorists shoot first, yet here in America the police are authorized to mow down (without warning) a citizen in his own home who hasn’t even taken the safety off his rifle?
Smashing in doors and taking the lives of citizens should be the last resort of a government, not the first.

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